A Match at the Ends of the Earth

By David Valolao | Drama
A depressed man connects with an old friend and rediscovers life.

Luigi is a widower whose wife passed away, and he is having a hard time pulling himself out of his grief. He doesn't eat the food his housekeeper prepares and never leaves his seat in the living room. His grown son Aldo is worried, stopping by to visit, but his dad is unresponsive.

But one day Luigi gets a letter from an old friend, Vittorio, from his days as a soldier during World War II. From his home in Buenos Aires, Vittorio sends his condolences. He also challenges his old friend to a long-distance chess match. As the friendship is rekindled over the game, Luigi emerges out of his depression.

Directed by David Valolao from a script co-written with Gustavo Espinoza, this warm and tender short drama is a tribute to enduring friendship and its power to help us weather the toughest parts of life. No matter how far away or how long ago that friendship was, its promise of support, understanding and companionship helps us face the difficulties of life, something that Luigi comes to understand through the course of the narrative.

The story's central character may be frozen in grief, but the film's emotional register is warmer and more dynamic, thanks to the production's stately elegance and visual richness. Thoughtful camera movements and composition and beautifully warm, lived-in colors and lighting have an appealing classicism, as does the evocative orchestral score.

The aesthetic is both restrained yet sumptuous, contrasting with the sparse dialogue and seemingly straightforward storyline. The craftsmanship does much of the storytelling here, with the help of evocative performances from the entire cast, particularly with actors Franco Olivero as Luigi and Ricardo Vianello as Aldo.

As Luigi begins to emerge out of his shell, we flashback to his friendship with Vittorio, which began in the uncertainty and gloom of impending battle. There, the two soldiers played chess to keep their anxiety at bay. Their friendship continued well past wartime and continues in unexpected ways -- ways that will help Luigi move out of his grief and back into life.

"A Match at the Ends of the Earth" ends with a reveal of just how enduring the friendship between Luigi and Aldo is, and how that one loyal bond affected the lives of more people beyond their own. It's less a clever plot twist and more about how the surfaces and events of ordinary life contain unexpected connections. But like the best twists at the end of a story, it adds a dimension of emotional meaning to the film, which honors love in all its permutations, and how much we will do for those we love and care about deeply when they need it most.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I'm Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.